Subscriber Discussion

Integrating Two Different VMS Systems

Anyone please enlighten me with information on how to integrate two different Video Management Systems.

Currently, our organisation uses enterprise grade very renowned VMS system. We monitor council city safe cameras. However, recently there was a request from local police to provide them some feeds. They use Dvtel system and in return we will share some of their feeds. Their cameras are all IP based, ours are analogue cameras encoded to digital. I am wondering how I can take feeds from them and offer feeds in return? Being digital systems, does the SDK need to be tweaked by the vendors?

I have checked with our vendor, they confirmed they haven’t performed any integration with Dvtel in the past.

Thank you all

It SHOULD be possible, IN THEORY. I'm told, for example, that I should be able to take an RTSP stream from a Dahua-made DVR, and record it in a 3xLOGIC Vigil as if it were a Dahua camera. Haven't had a chance to test this yet, but...

Now whether it's possible with the two specific systems you're dealing with, is a whole other matter.

You could always just see if their Dvtel system supports your encoders, and/or your "renowned" system supports their IP cameras, and simply not worry about whether the two VMSes will talk to each other... then you simply pull streams from their cameras into your recorder, and have their recorder pull streams from your encoders.

We have a tutorial that covers options and issues on recorders integrating with other recorders.

I've been involved in a few video sharing situations in my time. At my last job, we actually had a city police department, university, and school district all sharing video, using two different recording platforms, and three different camera manufacturers. That was quite a time. I think the county emergency management department is going to be pulling all of the above into their own system this year, so that'll be another layer.

The simplest way, assuming the cameras are fixed, is just to add the cameras to each others' systems. I highly recommend using a second stream for this, though, because I've seen VMSs do strange things. Some will fight to keep settings set to what was configured in the admin tools for that system, others will simply accept what's on the camera. I've seen this do weird things to bitrate, frame rate, and more, and it's unpredictable. So keep the main stream to the home system, and send a second stream to the other.

If they're PTZ cameras, and you want to control them on the other system, it's harder. Adding a PTZ with tours and multiple operators to multiple systems is a nightmare. Some systems simply store the tour, presets, etc., in the camera, and trigger it from the VMS. Others explicitly tell the camera where to go, storing it in the VMS. Watch those two fight it out. It's comedy. (I actually had someone try to do this in production, and I shook my head from the time they mentioned it, all the way through implementation.) The option there is basically to add a video stream only, without PTZ control. This is often preferred, anyway, since the PTZ doesn't belong to the viewing entity, allowing them to control it could mess up operators of the main organization.

There is a system which I need to investigate more called Lexray. On one interface it can monitor video feeds from disparate systems, typically used in a mobile environment but I believe can also be used with a standard browser.

I dont have one to recommend, and there are many documented reasons here why not to took at one, but isn't this the whole use-case or reason for PSIMs?

Undisclosed, Lexray is a good theory, but it has very limited VMS support. According to their website, it supports Milestone, OnSSI (so, Milestone), ViewCommander, and VayTek. I've never heard of those last two.

Sean, kinda yes. I think for things as "simple" as viewing video, PSIM providers would probably tell you it's overkill. At least I hope they would. Unless there's a requirement for other systems, alarms, procedures, whatever, a PSIM would be nuts.

This is why I say someone developing a multi-platform viewing client would be a good idea. It only needs to do live and recorded video, PTZ control, and possibly audio and I/O. Maybe simple maps. None of the other bells and whistles that most of the market doesn't need/want.

This is why I say someone developing a multi-platform viewing client would be a good idea. It only needs to do live and recorded video, PTZ control, and possibly audio and I/O. Maybe simple maps. None of the other bells and whistles that most of the market doesn't need/want.

Ironically, it seems mobile devices are furthest ahead on this curve. The IP Cam Viewer app I have on my Android phone not only supports a WIDE range of DVRs/NVRs. but numerous brands of IP cameras, as well as being pre-programmed with hundreds if not thousands of webcams (scenic, traffic, beach, etc.) from around the world. So far I have my home Vigil programmed into it, as well as a couple clients' Dahua DVRs, and even one Digimerge. The app supports two-way audio and PTZ control, and can record streams locally, although it doesn't do search/playback of remote systems at all.

I have not confirmed it, but supposedly Lexray now also interfaces with Genetec, Verint, Avigilon and Bosch with others soon.

We definitely see video interoperability as one of the big challenges for everyone in the industry in the next 2-3 years. Many organizations are looking to either share their video with an outside entity (i.e. public safety) or combine video from multiple systems. The physical security industry has historically been focused on recording and almost never asked the key question - what do you want to do with the video? Now that nearly everyone is carrying a smart phone, they are asking how they can take advantage of their video to run their organizations (thus the LexRay Mobile Operations Center concept).

The LexRay mobile platform has a connector architecture we're using to pull video or operational data from a variety of systems so it can be used next to each other on the same screen. If it has an SDK/API, it can be integrated into LexRay.

We do have support for VMS platforms beyond what the web site states (we're working on marketing/public statements with those companies so we're not publicly announcing them yet). We are continuing to add VMS and other operational system connectors (access control, building automation) as customer demand dictates. Our team is happy to help folks talk through architectures to see how a multi-vendor VMS setup can work -- I can't confirm the VMS platforms mentioned above publicly but we'd be happy to talk them through privately.

Alex, LexRay CEO & Chief Geek

Matt: "take an RTSP stream from a Dahua-made DVR, and record it in a 3xLOGIC Vigil as if it were a Dahua camera. Haven't had a chance to test this yet, but..." - we have tested this extensively (not with Vigil but with many others) and it works fine - just change the channel=x parameter and it connects the right camera - same goes for the NVRs. In fact the NVRs are a good way the take load off IP cameras connected to limited bandwidth links like wireless or 10Mbps EoC because the NVR/DVRs have Gigabit LAN interfaces to deliver multiple streams to multiple locations without running out of bandwidth - so one stream for police, one stream for local VMS, third stream for VCA system, etc...

Ethan: Most VMSes will take RTSP inputs - this is a lot safer then adding cameras to each others VMSes as the two VMSes will not fight to control the camera's settings - which can quickly crash the camera and is a security risk in itself (malicious user can shut down the camera remotely on the third party site). Most IP camera and expecially NVR RTSP stream URLs do not allow changing settings of the camera. Also with a 48port Gigabit PoE switch full of 3MP cameras you can quickly run out of bandwidth if you start taking additional streams from a significant proportion of cameras on the switch - I have found that these issues can go unoticed very easily but can lead to frequent gaps in video across various cameras at various times - a nasty intermittent result.

Thanks to all suggestions and John for posting the link for ‘recorders integrating with other recorders’.

I will certainly consider the tips and start tweaking the systems. If you have any other suggestions please let me know. I will certainly keep you all in the loop how the interoperability is going.

You should talk to Advancis. They have a product called WinGuard. I've worked for them before. They have integrated about 60 different CCTV systems using proprietary interfaces (based on SDKs and APIs). They replace the clients of the subsystem by their own video manager. The system basically is a PSIM, but you can only use the video manager.